Let’s say you’re invited to a mixer-party-networking-event thingy (or whatever the hip kids call ‘em these days). All the movers and shakers in your industry are in attendance. Sounds like a must-go, must-look-good, must-rock-it kind of situation. Right?
For sure, but chances are this is not a cheap ticket.
However, isn’t LinkedIn kind of the same thing (minus the heavy appetizers and pricey ticket)?
So, how do you ensure that your company is getting the most out of the shindig of the century (aka LinkedIn)?
First things first…
On LinkedIn, the people are the power
LinkedIn is built on the back of the individuals that make up the network – and that means to succeed on LinkedIn, your company’s strategy must be inclusive of “the people.”
Think of it this way. If you go around hugging babies and helping old ladies cross the street, people are going to think, “Now, that kid is a good egg, from a good family.”
Same goes for your company.
If the team is out there dropping knowledge bombs and lookin’ all smart and professional, it will reflect well on the company, too.
The people that make up your company, or at least a segment of them, can become part of your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Without them (and their personal LinkedIn accounts), you can’t quite take full advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer.
While employees obviously reserve the right to manage their public presence of LinkedIn, there are loads of collaboration opportunities that benefit both the company AND the individual, if the individual is so inclined:
Provide a canned, prewritten company description for the team to include on their personal profiles. (Hey, this removes an extra step for everyone AND gives your brand a consistent face and value prop. Win-win.)
Build an army of advocates and thought leaders. Recruit key team members, with varying skill sets and expertise, to engage with the LinkedIn community (keep reading…we’ll dive into key strategies on this!).
Encourage personal brand building. This may seem counterintuitive for a company (after all, isn’t it all about the biz?). However, people are the best representation of the company they work for. If the peeps are out there in the LinkedIn stratosphere being all amazing and stuff, the mothership is better for it.
Okay, so your company’s success on LinkedIn owes a lot to the individuals that make up the company, but you still need a company hub.
Your website is your real home base, but you also need a presence within the walled garden of LinkedIn.
Building a home on LinkedIn
Whether you’re a business with hundreds of employees or an independent proprietor, a Company Page and SlideShare channel can be pretty valuable.
(Now, when we say “pretty valuable,” we don’t mean it in the same way that your cousin Eddie refers to “bringing his hot dance moves.” We mean actually valuable.)
Let’s start with the LinkedIn Company Page.
The benefits are plentiful!
Prove you’re legit (too legit to quit): Tell your story, showcase your success, build your brand, nurture a stellar reputation, and flaunt that company culture in front of a massive community.
Feed SEO: Unlike personal profiles, your Company Page is publicly visible, giving you a tremendous opportunity to nourish your SEO with fresh, valuable, keyword-rich content. Yup, this means distributing all that quality content you create on LinkedIn (Ahem, Edgar can help with that!).
Build a hub for your company ambassadors: Whether it’s your employees building up your good name, or other fans praising and tagging you in their status updates, all those good vibes tie back to your company. Give future fans, advocates, and leads a place to find you on the network. Add your website to your Company page, so the most qualified peeps can find out more.
Okay, now for the SlideShare channel (another important hub).
This gem of a slide-hosting platform is the “sleeping giant” that all content marketers should befriend. There are 40 different content categories on SlideShare, so the competition for your particular niche is relatively small, providing you with a relatively uncluttered distribution channel.
It’s a no-brainer. With minimal effort, you can even upload existing slide presentations in a variety of formats.
Consider taking an existing piece of valuable content and repackaging it as a presentation to attract new audiences that prefer this visual format.
Now, buckle your seat belts! It’s time for the fun part…
Your company hubs are in order. The team is primed and ready to go. Their personal profiles are on point, and they are eager to spread your good word.
Time to release your army of advocates – and remember, the individual is the key!
Where to spread the word on LinkedIn
1. LinkedIn Groups
If your company is not taking advantage of Groups, you could be majorly missing out.
Start your own Group, dedicated to your particular area of expertise, and join other established Groups. If you decide to start your own, commit to it. This means actively recruiting members and getting your team involved as Group managers and contributors.
Getting involved with LinkedIn Groups can help your business immensely:
Social listening: Leverage these community forums to learn. What unanswered questions, frustrations, and trending topics are popping up? (In fact, we get loads of blog post ideas from here!)
Network: Thought leaders are no longer hanging at the 7-Eleven; they’ve grown up, and are now spending their downtime with their peers in Groups. (Though they might still grab a Slurpee to go.) If you’re looking for valuable mentors or simply a new connection, use Groups as a people discovery tool.
Be the pro: Whether you own the Group or you’re a member, contribute and engage! It’s all about adding value – if you can do that on the regular, you’ll stand out (and drive business).
2. LinkedIn Pulse
Pulse, the LinkedIn content publishing platform, can unlock new and engaged audiences that you may not have access to on your blog.
However, you ABSOLUTELY need to think through your Pulse strategy and balance it with your owned blog strategy (the one on your website). You need to be careful not to neglect your own domain because you’re busy pumping visitors over to LinkedIn.
Establish a few key employees as thought leaders that can publish content on Pulse (remember that individuals are the motor that powers LinkedIn). You can even hire writers to help produce the content.
Build your blog on your website, but use Pulse (and sites like Medium) as a secondary outlet. (Again, our founder publishes on Medium, too – different types of content can live on different outlets!)
Depending on your goals and audience, there are strategies to consider:
Use your blog for major cornerstone content and use Pulse to publish pillar content or hard-hitting op-ed pieces that still drive back to your foundational content (don’t forget the backlinks).
If publishing the same content from your blog on Pulse, publish the post on your own domain first. After Google indexes it (give it five days or so), post away on Pulse. Include a disclaimer crediting the original source of content (along with a link). Heads up, though: depending on the strength of your domain, the LinkedIn version could still pop up before your website in the search results – a play-it-safe alternative is to post an abstract or shorter version of your post on LinkedIn that links to the original on your own domain.
Keep all of this in mind, and you’re well on your way to a hard working (and fun) LinkedIn marketing strategy! Get it!
How is YOUR company using LinkedIn?
Does your LinkedIn strategy include your team of rockstars?
What B2B (or B2C) companies are killin’ it on LinkedIn?
What LinkedIn products can’t you live without – and what tips or tricks of your own have been lifesavers?
Let us know in the comments below!
Easy-to-Miss LinkedIn Strategies That Can Give You That Extra Edge
Groups, Pulse, SlideShare - get a refresher on the LinkedIn features that are easy to ignore, but can go a long way for your marketing!